World Swimming: Francesca Halsall wins bronze for GB

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Francesca Halsall wins 50m freestyle bronze

Francesca Halsall won bronze in the 50m freestyle to give Great Britain their only swimming medal of the World Championships in Barcelona.

Dutch swimmer Ranomi Kromowidjojo took gold on the final day in 24.05 seconds, ahead of Australian Cate Campbell (24.14) with Halsall third in 24.30.

Halsall, 23, failed to win a medal at the London 2012 Olympics and was fourth in Saturday's 50m butterfly final.

"A medal is nice but I wanted the gold so it's bitter-sweet really," she said.

Elsewhere, American teenager Missy Franklin became the first woman to win six golds at a single World Championships, overtaking the five held by compatriot Tracy Caulkins and Australia's Libby Trickett.

The 18-year-old was in dominant form in the medley relay, and gave her team-mates a lead that they never relinquished.

"I think the whole week was kind of difficult swimming this many events but I think I've proven a lot to myself," she said.

"Moving forward I'm excited for more opportunities to swim like this again."

Earlier, Dan Wallace set a new Scottish national record of four minutes 13.72 en route to finishing seventh in the 400m individual medley final.

Japan's Daiya Seto claimed gold in 4.08.69 ahead of USA's Chase Kalisz and Brazilian Thiago Pereira.

Florida-based Wallace, 20, said: "I've been swimming so well this year and every personal best just gives me more confidence heading into 2014 and the Commonwealth Games."

Britain had drawn a blank in the pool before Sunday, although Gary Hunt claimed silver in the high diving earlier on in the championships.

While Halsall - whose only previous medal at a global long-course competition was a silver in the 100m free at the 2009 Worlds in Rome - said she was "a bit disappointed" not to win, the bronze was reward for her hard work.

"I think it was more me erasing my demons of 2011 [when she twice finished fourth at the Worlds in Shanghai] and the Olympics in 2012," added the Southport-born swimmer.

"I've had a lot this year to contend with and it's not easy when you have a new coach [James Gibson] and getting into things and you're still a bit disappointed about what's happened [finishing fifth and sixth in London] so I'm really proud of myself and that I've been able to step back up."

Team-mate Hannah Miley equalled her fifth-place finish in the 400m individual medley at the London Games as Hungarian Katinka Hosszu [four minutes 30.41 seconds] completed a double with victory to follow her 200m success earlier in the week.

Swimming commentators get the giggles

"Fifth again but it's faster than I did at the Olympics so I can't really complain," said Miley, who clocked 4.34.16 behind runner-up Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain (4:31.21) and American defending champion Elizabeth Beisel (4:31.69).

"It's not the result that everyone wants and I hate disappointing people because it's a massive disappointment for myself to come away without a medal considering I did in Shanghai [silver at the 2011 Worlds] but the sport of swimming is moving on rapidly.

"I need to try and do something to make that improvement again next year and try and get closer to my rivals.

"My target is obviously Rio and this is just a stepping stone and hopefully a kick up the backside to keep me motivated, get back in the water and train even harder."

China's Olympic champion and world record holder Ye Shiwen could only manage seventh in 4:38.51.

Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte, who won 100m gold earlier in the week and broke the 50m breaststroke world record in Saturday's semi-finals, had to settle for silver in the final.

Russian Yuliya Efimova, 21, won in 29.52 seconds, edging out Plymouth-based 16-year-old Meilutyte by 0.07 seconds, with US swimmer Jessica Hardy (29.80) securing bronze.

"It great how much the breaststroke has stepped up with records a being broken in the 50m, 100m and 200m events so it's a great honour to be a part of that," said Meilutyte.

"A silver medal is an achievement as well [as a gold] so I have to be pleased with that."

In the men's 50m backstroke, Frenchman Camille Lacourt won in 24.42 seconds, but there was a tie for second place with countryman Jeremy Stravius and Matt Grevers (USA) both touching in 24.54.

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